Tell Your Lawyer the Truth

A detective once told me that people, when questioned by the police, usually tell only about 90% of the truth. They lie or hold back about the other 10% of the story. Everyone wants to look better than they really are so they don’t reveal certain information that they think makes them look bad or confirms their guilt.
As a defense attorney, the same is true when I talk to potential clients. Usually a client will tell me most of the truth but hold back on the really damaging information. The reality of this is that the information they don’t tell me can make their case harder to defend.

It is important to understand, that your attorney is not your judge. Most defense attorneys will work just as hard regardless of the all the facts and can only represent you effectively when they know everything they want and need to know. And remember, your attorney is sworn to confidentiality so anything you tell him or her will never be revealed without your permission.

There is an old defense attorney adage, never… repeat, never ask a question when you don’t know the answer. So if you don’t tell your lawyer everything, your attorney could ask a question or make a statement that he or she wouldn’t have done had they knew the truth. And when that happens, not only is the lawyer’s credibility at stake but so is yours. And from there, things can only go downhill. And bear in mind, if I don’t want to know something, (and sometimes I don’t), I won’t ask.

Bottom line, your lawyer is there to protect and help you, not judge you. If you don’t tell him everything he or she wants to know, it’s like fighting with one hand tied behind your back.